Welcome to ROUTE 420
Cannabis-friendly (and not) in OC, Long Beach, Los Angeles and into the desert
BY JEFFERSON VANBILLIARD
First Stop: Orange County
Our first stop on the 420 highway brings us to Blüm, located in the heart of Santa Ana’s green zone. It’s staff of well-educated “cannaisseurs” are more than happy to lead you down the correct path toward enlightenment, and every single one of them looks beautiful while doing it. We covered Korova’s “Russian Trio” line of expertly grown buds in our “Toke of the Week” section earlier this year, and Blüm was the only place you could get it in OC. We didn’t mind because every trip to one of our favorite spots always yields a treasure trove of frosty flowers. 2911 Tech Center. Dr., Santa Ana CA, 92705.
Bud & BlooM
Just a few streets from the 55 and 405 freeways is our next destination, the appropriately titled Bud & Bloom dispensary. After drooling over its impressive selection of flowers, concentrates and CBD products, you’ll be in the mood for some of Orange County’s best culinary offerings. Lucky for you, Santa Ana’s Arts District is close enough to cure even the heaviest cases of the munchies. Some of our favorite dining spots include Lola Gaspar, Vacation and the numerous taco trucks that line the busy streets. If your tour group is having trouble compromising, Fourth Street Market has enough choices to satisfy the pickiest eaters’ taste buds without draining your wallet of cash that should be spent on more flowers.
1327 E. Saint Gertrude Place, Santa Ana, CA 92705.
If food isn’t what you’re after, the tour continues only steps away from our previous destination in a newly renovated building in Santa Ana’s industrial business complex. ShowGrow looks and feels like a cannabis super-store without sacrificing its ability to provide one-on-one customer service. Each well-lit display case is set up to ensure that every product is easily identifiable and arranged to align with your personal needs. Enjoy the convenience of having the option to order ahead for your buds online, which means more time for you to explore Southern California and less time waiting in line.
1625 E. Saint Gertrude Place, Santa Ana, CA 92705.
Mr. Nice Guy OC
Make sure you’ve saved some room in your stash bag before visiting our next dispensary. Mr. Nice Guy is one of our favorite places, and after taking in its gigantic showroom, you’ll understand why. Located in the heart of OC, and nestled perfectly between a Wienerschnitzel and a gas station, Mr. Nice Guy carries all the shameful food we love/hate eating. It’s open late, its prices are fair, and if you’re on vacation, there are hotel accommodations just steps away, so you won’t have to worry about ingesting copious amounts of cannabis and finding your way home. Now, if only we could get the city to move toward onsite consumption, we would never have to leave.
730 E. Dyer Rd., Santa Ana, CA 92705.
Stop 2: LA & Long Beach
MedMen is more akin to an Apple store than your standard dispensary. From start to finish, they have set the standard for what a dispensary should aspire to be. Ample display cases line the interior of its well-stocked sales floor, showcasing everything from edibles to flowers and topicals. Its sales team manages to surprise us every time we visit with its latest strains while always being upfront and honest about each product, so we know you’ll enjoy your visit to our 2018 winner for Best Dispensary. After your magical shopping spree has ended, head to any of Los Angeles’ numerous tourist attractions to take in the sights and marvel at the weirdos you’ll more than likely meet while walking down the star-studded Hollywood Boulevard. Just watch out for human feces. There’s a lot of that.
8208 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046.
One Love Beach Club
One Love has been one of our go-to destinations for legal cannabis in LBC. Since opening its doors in 2009 the Beach Club has provided the surrounding neighborhoods with safe, legal access for medical-marijuana patients. Now that recreational cannabis has been legalized, One Love has announced it is able to serve anyone 21 and older, which makes it a perfect stop on our green tour. Its arsenal of concentrates from trusted brands such as Moxie, Nug and Dosist will keep the vibes positive while you bask in our famous traffic jams. After you’ve filled up your shopping bag, make your way to Long Beach’s downtown area and check out the aquarium. Just make sure you Febreeze properly before entering; there are impressionable children around.
2767 E. Broadway St., Long Beach, CA 90803.
Long Beach Green Room
Leading the way in the fight for legal cannabis is Long Beach’s first licensed dispensary. The Green Room serves as not only a one-stop shop for all things cannabis, but also a home base for political activism. The Green Room was monumental in the fight for Measure MM, which repealed Long Beach’s long-standing ban on dispensaries, and every time we find ourselves within view of the Queen Mary’s majestic smoke stacks, we feel the urge to blow off a little steam of our own. Lucky for you tourists, the Green Room is always stocked.
6447 E. Spring St., Long Beach, CA 90808.
Step 3: Into the Desert
Cathedral City Care Collective
After making your way through the 91 freeway’s infamous gridlock, head southeast on the 215 until you see Cathedral City. There, you’ll find Cathedral City Care Collective (CCCC), whose waiting room might seem similar to a lot of those other cannabis clubs throughout Southern California, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Despite legal cannabis being available for a year in Coachella Valley, tourists in the area have very few places where they can discreetly consume flowers. Thankfully, CCCC is one of the first dispensaries in California to allow onsite consumption. So, that bag of buds you just puchased and the time it takes to light it are the only things standing in your way of experiencing a higher consciousness on your California vacation. When the hunger pains finally come, make your way to one of Palm Springs’ many eateries nearby to quench your appetite and find a hotel for a few nights. Hot tip: The Ace in Palm Springs is our unofficial favorite spot to burn one poolside while letting their retro soundtrack ease us into the evening. 28201 Date Palm Dr., Cathedral City, CA 92234
Where to Eat?
Since the 1930s, Canter’s has been serving up it’s signature kosher sandwiches to celebrities, tourists and locals 24 hours a day. We’ve personally spent a few more nights than we’d care to admit noshing on a tower of pastrami and rye bread. The Art Deco interior of the spacious dining area is perfect for planning your next move after devouring some house made pickles and corned beef. With food that’s delicious enough to bring someone back from the dead after three days, no trip to Los Angeles is complete without a visit to this famous landmark.
419 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036.
Baker’s in the Inland Empire
In 1952 in his hometown of San Bernardino, Neal Baker opened the first dual-kitchen-operating, fast-food restaurant. By offering Southern California residents both Mexican and American entrée’s, Mr. Baker went on to open up an impressive amount of drive-thru eateries. We love Baker’s because no matter what your stomach is in the mood for, this place probably has it. We should also point out that its signature habanero ketchup is good enough to basically drink, and if someone in your group has gone veggie Baker’s has your back. Take our word for it and make the stop on your way through the Inland Empire toward Cathedral City. 3522 Adams St., Riverside, CA 92504.
What, a 420-
Desert Hot Springs Inn
Once you’ve had your fill of cannabis in Coachella, book an extended stay at the Valley’s first 420-friendly hotel and spa. At Desert Hot Springs Inn, guests can enjoy CBD-rich massages, hiking along Joshua Tree National Forest, and cooling off in the waters of the locally sourced, mineral-rich pool while smoking some of California’s finest. The pet-friendly compound is a short distance from downtown Palm Springs’ shopping and eating district, so go ahead, light up another one and tell innkeeper John Thatcher, we said hello.
67840 Hacienda Ave., Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240.
(760) 600-0246. DesertHotSpringsInn.com.
Tourist Attractions To Feed Your Mind
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
The worlds largest rotating tram car runs along a 2.5-mile stretch of pristine cliffs and breathtaking wilderness in San Jacinto State Park. During the 10-minute ride expect 360 degree views of California desert while rising to an elevation of more than 8,500 feet. Once you’ve arrived at the top, you’ll find two restaurants, museums, observation decks and countless trailways to explore while getting lit. Pro tip: Don’t burn down the desert; use a vape!
1 Tram Way, Palm SPrings, CA 92262.
The Griffith Observatory
Sitting along the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park is Los Angeles’ best possible place to spend the day stoned. Visitors to this historic gateway to the cosmos will enjoy panoramic views of the greater Los Angeles area, including its downtown high-rises buildings and the surrounding mountain peaks. The planetarium and the observatory’s very own tesla coil pair perfectly with whatever you’re smoking–and it’s completely free and open every day except Monday until 10p.m. 2800 E. Observatory Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027.
Thousand Steps Beach
For the traveler who doesn’t mind a bit of a workout, Thousand Steps in Laguna is the beach you need to see during your stay in Southern California. Parking on PCH is tricky, but with a bit of patience and luck, you’ll be happy you made the trip. Whoever named this place was obviously a little high themselves because during our last visit, we counted 238 steps, a far cry from what it’s name suggests. We like to assume it was an attempt to scare people away from Laguna’s best-kept secret, kinda like Iceland. Make sure you pack a lunch, as well as and a bowl for when you finally reach the sand, as you’re going to want to stay awhile.
31972 Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651.
During your stay in SoCal, make sure you set aside some time for Venice. Famous for its classic beach vibes and tourist-friendly shopping, Venice also has everything you could possibly need for your cannabis-fueled journey along the boardwalk. If you can manage the trip, Santa Monica Pier is a short walk up the coast, and there’s plenty of people-watching to do while breaking in your newly purchased piece. If you’re feeling brave enough, rent a board and paddle out into waters that are so warm even sharks travel here for whatever the shark equivalent of a vacation is.
1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291.
Places To Avoid
It may seem contradicting considering the mouse has won several OC Weekly awards for being the Best Place to Get Lit in our annual Best Of issue, but Disneyland and its surrounding area is not 420-friendly. We dare you to take one look at Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and not assume every animal is on something and nobody in their right mind can finish the infamous turkey leg available at food carts throughout the park without first smoking enough cannabis to make Willie Nelson blush. Alas, consuming cannabis within The Magical Kingdom will land you a quick trip to Mickey’s prison, which we’ve heard is basically like regular prison except they play “It’s a Small World” 24/7.
Besides the beach and a few hiking trails, South OC is basically a string of strip malls and women who would like to speak to the manager. Instead of navigating through streets that all look identical and dodging bored police officers ready to harsh your mellow, spend some time in the parts of Orange County that don’t look like the cover of an Irvine Co. brochure. Besides, with almost zero dispensaries south of the 55 freeway, there’s no reason to waste your time–or gas.
For being the self-proclaimed “Surf City,” HB is doing all it can to resist the green wave. We’ve written about the now-infamous Rise Above Movement that dissolved into chaos during a pro-Trump march near the beach, and its mayor has yet to allow the sale of legal cannabis within city limits. Skip this city altogether and spend your day exploring Venice Beach’s hippy highway that runs along its beachside boardwalk.